Bonifacio is one of Corsica’s main landmark attractions – a seaside town with a glamorous marina and landmark ‘old town’ high up on the cliff face overlooking the sea with the neighbouring island of Sardinia clearly visible beyond.
It’s within driving distance of where we stayed near Porto Vecchio but we split the journey up, spending half the day on the beach at Rondinara before heading on to Bonifacio later in the afternoon.
As well as being easily reached by car from Porto Vecchio and its surroundings, there are many boat trips operating around the south and west coast that take you to Bonifacio by sea, from which you get a great vantage point of the cliff-face citadel.
We found a car park directly opposite the marina, which is un-missable as you enter the town via a one way system and see rows of gigantic super-yachts moored up. Corsica is a popular cruising destination for super-yachts and smaller boats alike and Bonifacio is the must-visit destination for all of them, making the marina a popular, busy – but still laid-back and enjoyable – place to visit.
We spent a while walking up and down the front of the harbour, gawping at the super-yachts and checking out the many restaurants which line the waterfront, all of which are typically expensive.
Behind the marina, high up on a steep hillside, is the main attraction of Bonifaccio – the cliff-top 13th century old town, which you can access via steps from the harbour or drive up via a road that leads to a car park at the top.
We’d already got our car parked and didn’t fancy chancing finding a space in the much smaller car park higher up, so we set about the steep walk up the steps – something the children weren’t particularly enthusiastic about in the heat and which required some bribery with the promise of ice cream.
Although the walk up was steep to start with, it wasn’t actually too long – and there was soon a cool breeze blowing in from the sea once we got higher up. The views over the marina and the sea are a worthwhile reward for the walk and, before long, you reach the narrow cobbled streets of the old town and the effort of the hike up the steps is soon forgotten.
This was certainly our favourite of the towns we visited – it’s got so much character, lots of tiny little shops selling local souvenirs, clothing – as well as cafes, bars and restaurants where you can sit and enjoy the superb views.
We found a restaurant for dinner and, while we sat on the terrace enjoying the sights with the sunset turning the old buildings golden and pink, a classical guitarist set up on the street outside and started playing, really adding to the atmosphere.
Bonifacio has a real combination of glamour down in the flashy marina with its amazing boats – and laid-back, historical charm in the old town above. Definitely worth a visit whether by car or via a boat trip – and even the children (as young as nine and old as 17) were happy here, particularly once we’d loaded up on Nutella waffles from the roadside seller, to reward their efforts walking up to the top.